Remembering Tacoma Author Frank Herbert - With a Park

This week’s meeting of Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission will include the discussion of a proposal to rename Peninsula Park as Frank Herbert Park.

Never heard of Peninsula Park or Frank Herbert?  You’re likely not alone.  

Peninsula Park is the current name for the park being built by Point Ruston developers on the former rocky slag heap behind the Tacoma Yacht Club marina.  The property is owned by Metro Parks Tacoma and is a part of the grander vision of connecting Point Defiance to Ruston Way, and the rest of Tacoma’s waterfront. 


Peninsula Park sits right next to the old Asarco site that inspired Herbert's concern for the health of the planet.Peninsula Park sits right next to the old Asarco site that inspired Herbert’s concern for the health of the planet.

Tacoma native Frank Herbert wrote Dune and other science fiction works with recurring themes of environmental conservation and the delicate balance of nature.  A letter from Eric Hanberg, Metro Parks Commissioner and former writer at Exit133, appearing on Post Defiance earlier this year, includes quotes from Herbert’s son, describing his father’s experiences in Tacoma as major motivators in this interest in threats to the environment.

Dad was a daily witness to conditions in Tacoma, which in the 1950s was known as one of the nation’s most polluted cities, largely due to a huge smelter whose stack was visible from all over the city, a stack that belched filth into the sky. The air was “so thick you could chew it,” my father liked to quip. The increasing pollution he saw all around him, in the city of his birth, contributed to his resolve that something had to be done to save the Earth. This became, perhaps, the most important message of Dune.

On May 22, Landmarks Preservation Commissioner Daniel Rahe introduced a proposal to change the name of Peninsula Park to Frank Herbert Park in honor of Herbert’s literary accomplishments.  The idea will be discussed at this week’s LPC meeting.  We can see the case for Herbert as a good match for naming a former slag heap turned waterfront park.  It makes us wonder, what other little remembered Tacomans might we memorialize?

Read more from Post Defiance.

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Richard Brautigan and Gary Larson come to mind as other Tacoma natives that would be interesting to see honored.

June 10, 2013 at 1:24 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Richard Brautigan and Gary Larson come to mind as other Tacoma natives that would be interesting to see honored.

Gary Larson Memorial Doors on the downtown library should have the push/pull markings reversed.

June 11, 2013 at 12:14 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Oh, also, this is cool. Needs a statue of a sandworm.

June 10, 2013 at 1:25 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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YES! Also, Dashiell Hammett. And there’d better be a fedora involved (or, you know, TB. Whatever works).

June 10, 2013 at 5:44 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Dan tries too hard to get attention

At this point, it’s not quite a “proposal”, despite what the City’s agenda reads. I introduced a proposal that the Landmarks Commission write a letter to MetroParks in support of changing the name to Frank Herbert Park. The city does not have the jurisdiction for name changes in district parks. We are hoping the Arts Commission will join us in urging MetroParks to consider this name change. If it is something you care about, please contact the Arts and Landmarks commissions via

Thanks so much for sharing this!

June 10, 2013 at 1:41 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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I do believe that it is EXIT133 policy to have one user name per user, @Dan tries too hard to get attention…

I think the name needs shortening, to ‘Frankerbert Park’.

June 10, 2013 at 2:01 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Published Author RR AndersonRegistered

Harkonen Park?  Fremen Park?

June 10, 2013 at 5:33 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Mmmmmmm, Spice

Dune dune park.


June 10, 2013 at 7:16 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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I gotta say though the conceptual plan for this park looks amazing.  Will be interesting to see them dredge to construct those artificial islands.

June 10, 2013 at 11:04 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Weyland Duir

Actually the islands are already there.  They are part of a habitat basin Asarco built as mitigation for some other in-water clean up work.  Part of the seawall went down in the Nisqually quake.

June 11, 2013 at 9:14 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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So, is it going to be repaired as part of the project or will the basin/beach that is there now remain?

June 11, 2013 at 12:30 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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